Five members of masked gang who murdered two 17-year-old rivals are jailed for total of 126 years 


Five members of a masked gang who murdered two 17-year-old rivals with ‘Rambo’ knives after ambushing a Milton Keynes house party in a postcode war have been jailed for a total of 126 years. 

Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice were stabbed to death at a house in the Emerson Valley area of the Buckinghamshire town in October 2019.

Two other people were stabbed and left with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Today, Earl Bevans, 23, Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, and two previously unnamed teenagers appeared at Luton Crown Court to be sentenced.

The youths can now be named as Ben Potter, 17, and Jamie Chandler, the 17-year-old brother of Charlie, after Mr Justice Spencer lifted reporting restrictions.

The court previously heard the defendants were either members or associated with members of the B3 gang in West Bletchley, named after the MK3 postcode, and had planned the attack after being told that members of the rival M4 gang were at the party.

Ben was stabbed six times in the living room of the three-bedroom house, and Dom was chased outside the property and ‘hacked’, jurors were told, suffering 47 injuries and dying in hospital three hours later.

The two have been close friends since school, pictured, and were described as ‘like brothers’

Jason Rice, Ben's father, told Luton Crown Court the families of the boys had been served a life sentence, adding 'when they killed Ben, they killed us', as he called for a tough punishment. Pictured, Ben with his mother Suzie Gillham

Jason Rice, Ben’s father, told Luton Crown Court the families of the boys had been served a life sentence, adding ‘when they killed Ben, they killed us’, as he called for a tough punishment. Pictured, Ben with his mother Suzie Gillham

Dom Ansah, a keen football fan, pictured with his father, Dominic Owusu-Ansah

Dom Ansah, a keen football fan, pictured with his father, Dominic Owusu-Ansah

Ben, pictured, was a 'very charismatic' boy and a passionate football fan who was widely adored, his parents said

Ben, pictured, was a ‘very charismatic’ boy and a passionate football fan who was widely adored, his parents said

Dom and his mother

Dom and his sister

Dom, pictured left with his mother and right with his sister, loved basketball, was full of joy, energy and a love for life

Tracey Ansah, Dom's mother, said her son was widely loved, with nearly 500 people attending his funeral. Pictured, Dom

Tracey Ansah, Dom’s mother, said her son was widely loved, with nearly 500 people attending his funeral. Pictured, Dom

The parents of Ben Gillham-Rice, Suzanne Gillham and Jason Rice, speak after the sentencing

The parents of Ben Gillham-Rice, Suzanne Gillham and Jason Rice, speak after the sentencing

The parents of Dom Ansah, Tracey and Dominic Ansah speak after the sentencing today

The parents of Dom Ansah, Tracey and Dominic Ansah speak after the sentencing today

(left to right) Ben Gillham-Rice's mother Susanne Gillham, father Jason Rice with Dom Ansah's mother Tracey, father Dominic and sister Holly, outside Luton Crown Court

(left to right) Ben Gillham-Rice’s mother Susanne Gillham, father Jason Rice with Dom Ansah’s mother Tracey, father Dominic and sister Holly, outside Luton Crown Court

Family pay tribute to two friends who were ‘like brothers’ 

Asked before sentencing whether the end of the process would bring any closure, Ben’s father Jason Rice said: ‘It gives you a little bit, maybe, of that chapter’s over, knowing that the people who (have) done it are behind bars, but no sentence will be enough.’

This was echoed by Dom’s mother Tracey Ansah, who said: ‘We just survive, every day. There’s no meaning to it, because he’s not a part of it.

‘So no sentence will ever be long enough, and it’s not something you will ever recover from.’ 

Suzanne Gillham, Ben’s mother, said: ‘That friendship was strong from day one, up until the fatal night they both lost their lives.’

Ben’s parents said their son was a ‘very charismatic’ boy and a passionate football fan who was widely adored.

His father said: ‘He was extremely funny. His friends said just how funny he was, whenever there was a gathering on they’d want him there, he would light up the party.’

The families were so close Ben was like a second brother to Dom’s twin sister Holly, Mrs Ansah said.

She added: ‘There was always banter between Ben supporting Tottenham and Dom Liverpool, so we always had that banter, they just did everything together.’

She said Dom, who loved basketball, was full of joy, energy and a love for life.

‘He was very much loved…really loved,’ she said, adding around 500 people had attended his funeral.

Barker, Potter and both Chandler brothers had denied both murders and two counts of wounding with intent but were unanimously convicted by the jury after around nine hours of deliberation.

Mr Justice Spencer gave each defendant a life sentence, with minimum terms varying from 22 years in detention to 28 years in prison.

He said: ‘The all too familiar background to these senseless and tragic killings was rivalry between gangs of young men, and the culture of violence and knives promoted on social media.’

The judge added: ‘The violence that night escalated way beyond anything that had gone before.

‘You, Clayton Barker, Ben Potter and Jamie Chandler, were enthusiastic members of the rival B3 gang.

‘You, Charlie Chandler and Earl Bevans, were not members of B3, but you were closely associated with those who were and willing to lend your support that night in this revenge attack as part of the ongoing feud.’

Mr Justice Spencer said Barker had taken a leading role in the attack and that four people had gone into the house.

The judge added the attack would have caused ‘untold trauma’ to those who had witnessed it.

Charlie Chandler, of Fitzwilliam Street, Bletchley, received life with a minimum of 27 years in prison, while Barker, of Surrey Road, Bletchley, was handed a life sentence with a 28-year minimum term.

Bevans, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial and was given life with a minimum term of 27 years.

Potter, of Chiswick Close, Westcroft, and Chandler, of Woodrush Close, Beanhill, were given a 22-year minimum term in detention.

Asked before sentencing whether the end of the process would bring any closure, Ben’s father Jason Rice said: ‘It gives you a little bit, maybe, of that chapter’s over, knowing that the people who (have) done it are behind bars, but no sentence will be enough.’

This was echoed by Dom’s mother Tracey Ansah, who said: ‘We just survive, every day. There’s no meaning to it, because he’s not a part of it.

‘So no sentence will ever be long enough, and it’s not something you will ever recover from.’ 

Suzanne Gillham, Ben’s mother, said: ‘That friendship was strong from day one, up until the fatal night they both lost their lives.’

Ben’s parents said their son was a ‘very charismatic’ boy and a passionate football fan who was widely adored.

His father said: ‘He was extremely funny. His friends said just how funny he was, whenever there was a gathering on they’d want him there, he would light up the party.’

Forensic officer outside the scene of the murders in 2019. The sentencing hearing for five defendants began on Tuesday, a month after Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, and two 17-year-olds were convicted of murder

Forensic officer outside the scene of the murders in 2019. The sentencing hearing for five defendants began on Tuesday, a month after Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, and two 17-year-olds were convicted of murder

Mrs Ansah said her son (pictured) had made mistakes as a teenager but had 'lived and learned' from them, and had never carried a knife

Mrs Ansah said her son (pictured) had made mistakes as a teenager but had ‘lived and learned’ from them, and had never carried a knife

Blood was seen smeared on the door of the house where the two teenagers were stabbed

Blood was seen smeared on the door of the house where the two teenagers were stabbed 

The families were so close Ben was like a second brother to Dom’s twin sister Holly, Mrs Ansah said.

She added: ‘There was always banter between Ben supporting Tottenham and Dom Liverpool, so we always had that banter, they just did everything together.’

She said Dom, who loved basketball, was full of joy, energy and a love for life.

‘He was very much loved…really loved,’ she said, adding around 500 people had attended his funeral.

During the trial at Luton Crown Court, Mrs Ansah had described how she spent Dom’s last moments by his side in hospital.

Mrs Ansah told PA: ‘We were lucky, we got three hours with him. It wasn’t enough. But he knew we were there and we got to tell him how much we love him.

‘We didn’t say goodbye because we didn’t think he was going to go, he was talking, we thought he was going to be okay.

‘It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough. There was so much more I wanted to say.’

The trial heard Ben was pronounced dead at the house in the Emerson Valley area after he was stabbed six times.

Mr Rice said: ‘I drove to the party and I couldn’t get in, it was all cordoned off and I was just told there been a fatality there, and then one of his mates said to me it was Ben.

‘You see in the films, your whole world comes around you and you think, ‘this is not happening, I’m going to wake up, this is not happening’… You live in a nightmare because you think it’s not true.’

Asked before sentencing whether the end of the process would bring any closure, Mr Rice said: ‘It gives you a little bit, maybe, of that chapter’s over, knowing that the people have done it are behind bars, but no sentence will be enough.’

This was echoed by Mrs Ansah, who said: ‘We just survive, every day. There’s no meaning to it, because he’s not a part of it.

‘So no sentence will ever be long enough, and it’s not something you will ever recover from.’

Charlie Chandler, 22

Clayton Barker, 20

Charlie Chandler (left), 22, and Clayton Barker (right), 20, are among four people who have been convicted of murdering a pair of 17-year-olds in a ‘ferocious’ ambush at a birthday party

Earl Bevans, 23, previously admitted murder and was sentenced at Luton Crown Court today

Earl Bevans, 23, previously admitted murder and was sentenced at Luton Crown Court today

Ben Potter

Jamie Chandler

Ben Potter, pictured left, and Jamie Chandler, pictured right, both 17, can now be named after reporting restrictions were lifted

Forensic teams were also pictured outside the property in Milton Keynes in October 2019

Forensic teams were also pictured outside the property in Milton Keynes in October 2019

An artist's sketch of Chandler appearing at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court in October 2019

An artist’s sketch of Chandler appearing at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court in October 2019

She added Ben, Dom and the defendants had been ‘failed’ by systems including schools and social services.

‘If they had done what was right by them, they might not have done this to our boys. The system’s the problem,’ she continued.

After the jury gave their verdicts, Mr Justice Spencer commended the families for their dignity over more than a month and a half of the trial.

Both families said they found it difficult to see the adult defendants in the dock, with the juveniles in a separate courtroom.

Mr Rice said: ‘When you look at them and you think, ‘why would you do it? Why? What possessed you to think, right, I’m going to do that.’

‘There’s nothing that either of them had done, or could have done, that deserved that.’  

Trial judge Mr Justice Spencer heard mitigation from barristers representing the five defendants on Tuesday afternoon.

The court previously heard Ben was stabbed six times in the living room of the property. Dom was ‘hacked’, prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said, with the teenager receiving 47 injuries before later dying in hospital.

Addressing the aggravating elements of the crimes on Tuesday, Ms Newell told the court the ‘savage’ attacks were orchestrated within a short period and involved the use of at least three deadly weapons.

She added the attack took place in the house of an ‘innocent young girl on her 17th birthday’ before moving into the street, traumatising neighbours who witnessed it. 

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